Do you need people to greet at a door?
What about people to serve coffee or direct traffic?
How many people do you need? Ten? Seven hundred?
Here's the thing about needing people to volunteer to "do stuff". It takes people.
And, if you know people, if you are a "people", then you cannot ignore the obvious yet most ignored fact about leading a group of people who volunteer - they are people. Which means, they/we, you and me, are messy.
Churches ask me to help train or provide information about leading a volunteer ministry to get people to serve and "do stuff". While there is a certainly an important component to the logistics, it's more about serving, encouraging, empowering and loving on the people than just organizing a bunch of jobs or posts.
These are people that have lost jobs, lost parents, going through major health issues, struggling financially, worried about friends and pretty much simply - this is life with all it's mess. So I cannot simply say,
"Make sure you have smiling faces at the door!" Easier said than done most days.
How do you place "smiling faces at the door" on a consistent basis?
It all starts with the best and most important question ever...WHY?
- Why should we be smiling when we are hurting?
- Why should I smile at that person who is angry, or rude or ignores me?
- Why should I even show up when I don't think it really matters or that it will make any dent in anyone's day...really.
If we ignore addressing the inner voices of our volunteers and their own personal circumstances and struggles, then we are ignoring the very reason Jesus paid the ultimate price - death - which is to rescue PEOPLE!
I have learned 3 Lessons:
FIRST: I have learned that the real work in leading a group of volunteers is to constantly remind myself of my own brokenness. How I can hurt others without even realizing it or intending to hurt them. How I can get territorial when nothing is mine to begin with and how I can push processes above people.
SECOND: We must remind one another to have the conversations that say - YOU matter. You are loved even though you made a mistake or behaved badly. We must say, tell and act out the belief that "people trump processes". And that if people really do matter to God, then people must matter to us.
THIRD: We must RUN to the messes - including the "hot messes". Especially when there are disagreements and, do I dare say, even fighting, gossiping, and angry words within the ranks. At church? Yes! Because the last time I looked, there are people at church. And I'm a hot mess too!
I'm grateful for the leaders who run to my messes. Who lovingly point out my weaknesses and areas where I can do and be better. I really do want to honor all that I have been given to steward.
Super grateful that Jesus died for me anyway.